AN OPEN LETTER TO THE NEW EU HIGH-COMMISSIONER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS - JOSEP BORRELL
I wish you well in your new role as High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy in the European Commission. It is a huge task, but one I am sure you are well-equipped to handle with dexterity. I recall your time as President of the European Parliament from 2004-2006 and of course you have served as a government minister in Spain on many occasions, most recently as Foreign Minister, so you bring a legacy of knowledge and skill to the post which, I say with regret, has been sadly lacking in previous incumbents.
As you sift through the bulging in-tray on your desk in the Berlaymont Building in Brussels, you will undoubtedly note the most pressing items currently confronting the EU are almost all in the Middle East. Massive street protests are raging across Iran, Iraq and Lebanon. After 8 blood-soaked years, the civil war lurches on in Syria. The Houthi rebels continue to foment unrest in Yemen and in each case, Vladimir Putin exploits every opportunity to extend Russia’s influence. It may quickly become clear to your experienced eye that there is a common thread binding all of these zones of conflict. The theocratic, fascist regime in Iran is behind every one.
Iran pours money and troops into Syria to back Bashar al-Assad’s bloody civil war; they provide the Houthi rebels in Yemen with money and missiles; they sponsor and command the brutal militias in Iraq who have murdered thousands of innocent Sunnis and they provide limitless support for the terrorist Hezbollah organisation in Lebanon. The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which controls almost all of the Iranian economy, acts like the regime’s Gestapo, brutally oppressing anyone who stands in its way. General Qasem Soleimani, leader of the powerful paramilitary organization’s overseas arm – the Quds Force, supervises Iran’s direct involvement in every conflict
It is time for a complete change of direction in EU policy towards Iran. Your predecessor, Federica Mogherini, was a hapless appeaser of the Iranian mullahs, travelling frequently to Tehran, wearing the veil in acquiescence to the mullah’s misogyny and even posing for selfies with the turbaned tyrants. But appeasement has failed. Iran’s increasing hostility in recent weeks, with their explosive stealth attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and missile strikes on Saudi oil installations, proves that they are not prepared to abandon their belligerent behaviour. The EU must give up trying to revive Obama’s flawed deal, which never stopped the mullah’s clandestine attempts to build a nuclear weapon and indeed simply released $150 billion of frozen assets that the regime rapidly used to sponsor their policy of aggressive expansion and international terror. As a former MEP, like you, I am ashamed when I see the EU placing more emphasis on trade and commerce than on human rights. The people of Iran expect Europe and the UN to be on their side. They expect their calls for democracy to be taken seriously. Human rights and women’s rights cannot be compromised or marginalized on the pretext of political considerations, trade deals or the flawed nuclear agreement. Obama’s appeasement policy, lamely followed by the EU, is dead in the water.
Opponents of the theocratic fascist Iranian regime inside Iran are regularly imprisoned, tortured and hanged, often in public. An estimated 100,000 political prisoners have been murdered since the Ayatollahs seized control of Iran in 1979. Since President Rouhani took office in 2013, over 4,000 people have been executed, including many women and even a number of juveniles. The UN is currently investigating how the regime executed over 30,000 political prisoners in 1988. Amnesty International published a 94-page report entitled “Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack.” It detailed 45 specific instances of what the organization described as a “vicious crackdown” coinciding with the supposedly ‘moderate’ presidency of Hassan Rouhani.
Outside the country, the mullahs preferred option is assassination or terrorist attacks. General Soleimani has been sent to Baghdad to quell the Iraqi protests. He has already boasted publicly that “In Iran we know how to deal with protesters.” Masked gunmen, deployed by Soleimani have killed over 250 of the unarmed Iraqi protesters. There are trained Ministry of Intelligence & Security (MOIS) agents implanted in every European embassy. Their job is to track down and eliminate political dissidents or enemies of the fundamentalist regime. That is why I find it difficult to understand how the EU can continue to tolerate a regime that has defiled the whole concept of diplomacy. You will not doubt be aware that on 30th June last year German police arrested Assadollah Assadi, a diplomat from the Iranian Embassy in Vienna and charged him with terrorist offences.
On the same day Belgian police arrested an Iranian couple from Antwerp after 500 gm of high explosives and a detonator were found in their car. They admitted Assadi had given them the bomb and instructed them to detonate it at the Iranian democratic opposition rally being held in Villepinte, near Paris that weekend. They are awaiting trial in Belgium. In December last year the Albanian police uncovered a plot to assassinate Iranian opposition members in Tirana. The Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama expelled the Iranian ambassador and first secretary. Yet despite clear evidence that Iranian embassies in Europe are now used as terror cells and bomb factories, the EU has continued to search for ways of doing business with Iran. Germany, France and the Netherlands still do significant trade with the theocratic regime, despite America’s tough new sanctions.
In Iran, more than half the population of 80 million is under 30. Around a quarter of young people are jobless, more in some harder-hit regions. The Iranians are among the most pro-Western people in the Middle East. Yet they are ruled by a clique of elderly, bearded, deeply corrupt mullahs, who have drained the country’s rich oil resources to featherbed their own lavish lifestyles and to fund their revolutionary expansionism and proxy wars. This is why millions of people have taken to the streets inside Iran, but also in Iraq and Lebanon, demanding an end to Iranian meddling in the Middle East and an end to corruption and oppression.
Dear Josep, I am sure that you will adopt a robust attitude towards these difficult challenges in the Middle East and I am equally sure that as a democrat, you will be keen to show the EU’s support for the people of those beleaguered nations who risk their lives in daily protests against their oppressors. The Iranian Ayatollah’s have a finger in every pie. They control an evil regime that should be toppled. There are brave members of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran/ Mojahedin e-Khalq (PMOI/MEK), the main Iranian opposition network,in resistance units operating in almost every town and city inside Iran. These heroic resistance fighters aim to bring an end to the evil theocratic tyranny that has wrecked and impoverished their country and blighted the lives of millions throughout the Middle East. We now look to you, dear Josep, to tell the people of Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, that they have our support and that we in Europe stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their struggle to overthrow the tyrants.